COVID-19

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Open access

Subdural empyema secondary to pansinusitis after coronavirus disease 2019 infection in an immunocompetent patient: illustrative case

Christopher S. Hong, Morgan L. Prust, R. Peter Manes, Ryan A. Rimmer, and Sacit Bulent Omay

BACKGROUND

Superimposed intracranial infection is an uncommon but clinically significant complication in patients with active coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), particularly in those with predisposing immunocompromising conditions.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a case of subdural empyema, secondary to extension from pansinusitis, in a 20-year-old otherwise healthy immunocompetent male who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Despite his critical condition at time of presentation, he made a full clinical recovery with aggressive multidisciplinary surgical management between neurosurgery and otolaryngology, despite negative cultures to guide directed antimicrobial therapy. Ultimately, use of molecular-based polymerase chain reaction testing diagnosed Aspergillus fumigatus as the offending pathogen after the patient had already recovered and was discharged from the hospital.

LESSONS

This case demonstrates the potential for significant superimposed intracranial infection even in young, healthy individuals, infected by COVID-19 and suggests an aggressive surgical approach to achieve source control, particularly in the absence of positive cultures to guide antimicrobial therapies, may lead to rapid clinical improvement.

Open access

Developmental venous anomaly thrombosis in a patient with coronavirus disease 2019-associated hypercoagulability: illustrative case

Natasha Ironside, Derek Petrosian, Salma Abbas, Ching-Jen Chen, Ryan Kellogg, Dale Ding, and Min S. Park

BACKGROUND

Spontaneous thrombosis of a developmental venous abnormality (DVA) is a rare complication associated with hypercoagulability. The objective of this case report is to describe an association between DVA thrombosis and mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection in a vaccinated patient.

OBSERVATIONS

A 28-year-old male with hypertension presented with severe headache and left-sided hemiparesis. Five weeks prior to presentation, the patient experienced mild respiratory symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19. Admission brain computed tomography (CT) showed a large right parieto-occipital intracerebral hemorrhage with surrounding edema. CT venography and catheter angiography showed a thrombosed DVA with associated venous infarction as the hemorrhage etiology. He was treated with decompressive hemicraniectomy, external ventricular drain placement, and systemic anticoagulation. The patient was functionally independent (modified Rankin Scale score, 2) at 4-month follow-up. Hypercoagulability work-up was unremarkable.

LESSONS

Delayed DVA thrombosis after the COVID-19 infectious period may represent an association between the infection and a protracted systemic viral-induced hypercoagulable state. The severity of COVID-19 symptomatology does not appear to correlate with risk of DVA thrombosis. Young patients with a recent history of COVID-19 infection who present with venous infarction should be evaluated for an underlying thrombosed DVA.

Open access

Sinusitis complicated by intracranial abscess in 3 patients with coronavirus disease 2019: illustrative cases

Samuel Griffin, Ryan T. Cleary, Michael Prim, Nicholas Musgrave, Jeroen R. Coppens, and Joanna Kemp

BACKGROUND

The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be associated with various neurological manifestations, including cerebrovascular disease, seizures, peripheral nerve disease, and encephalitis. Intracranial abscess related to COVID-19 is rare but illustrates a serious complication in the studied cases.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report 3 cases of patients presenting with COVID-19 complicated by sinusitis with associated intracranial abscesses. Each patient underwent craniotomy with washout and sinus debridement during their hospital stay. All 3 patients improved to their baseline following treatment. Similar outcomes have been observed in other cases of intracranial abscess associated with COVID-19 infections.

LESSONS

Patients achieved significant improvement following evacuation of the abscess and intravenous antibiotics. Further investigation is needed to determine treatment in relation to COVID-19, and the authors recommend following the standard treatment of intracranial abscess at this time.

Open access

Cerebrospinal fluid fistula as a complication of reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction collection for the detection of coronavirus disease 2019: illustrative cases

Lucca B. Palavani, Camila V. F. Andrade, Renato A. Andrade, Egmond Alves, Marcio Falchi Barros, and João F. Barbieri

BACKGROUND

The most used method to detect coronavirus disease 2019 during the pandemic is reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction with nasal swab. Despite being highly effective, the test does not leave the patient risk-free and can lead to serious complications. These can be traumatic nasal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistula and its consequences, such as meningitis.

OBSERVATIONS

In this article, the authors present 4 case reports and a literature review. The following MeSH terms in the research were used: “CSF leak case report and covid 19.” Six results were found and after searching the references and keywords 16 articles were identified. By using them, the authors tried to clarify the etiology of the fistula, its influences, and complications.

LESSONS

The authors conclude that professionals must receive training, since CSF fistula originates from technical failure and lack of anatomical knowledge. The diagnosis cannot be neglected because it can bring complications to the patient’s health.

Open access

Acute worsening of CADASIL in a patient with COVID-19 infection: illustrative case

Jared S. Rosenblum, Jessa M. Tunacao, Matthew A. Nazari, Halle Ronk, Danielle D. Dang, Chad Downing, Zhengping Zhuang, John D. Heiss, James G. Smirniotopoulos, Avraham Bluestone, James Badia, and Joseph White

BACKGROUND

Reports of cerebrovascular ischemia and stroke occurring as predominant neurological sequelae of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), are increasingly evident within the literature. While various pathophysiological mechanisms have been postulated, including hypercoagulability, endothelial invasion, and systemic inflammation, discrete mechanisms for viral neurotropism remain unclear and controversial.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a unique case study of a 64-year-old male with acute COVID-19 infection and acute worsening of previously stable cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL), a rare heritable arteriopathy due to mutation in the Notch3 gene, which is critical for vascular development and tone. Delayed cranial neuropathies, brainstem fluid-attenuated inversion recovery signal, and enhancement of olfactory and vagus nerves on magnetic resonance neurography in this patient further support viral neurotropism via cranial nerves in addition to cerebral vasculature.

LESSONS

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first case in the literature that not only demonstrates the consequences of COVID-19 infection in a patient with altered cerebrovascular autoregulation such as CADASIL but also highlights the tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for (1) cranial nerves as a mode of entry to the central nervous system and (2) vessels as a cause of cerebrovascular ischemia.

Open access

Transverse myelitis after Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: illustrative case

Ezek Mathew, Julie Williamson, Lois Mamo, and Rob Dickerman

BACKGROUND

Transverse myelitis is a rare neurological occurrence with varied presentation. Imaging is necessary to properly diagnose this condition; however, identifying the cause of this condition may often be difficult.

OBSERVATIONS

An otherwise healthy patient presented to the clinic with peculiar neurological symptoms without an obvious underlying cause. Imaging evidenced no significant structural defects but did lead to discovery of cord enhancement compatible with a diagnosis of transverse myelitis. Corticosteroid treatment was initiated rapidly to address this pathology, and the patient recovered without deficits. To identify the underlying cause, patient medical history was reviewed thoroughly and compared with existing literature. Previous tuberculosis infection could be a less likely cause of the neurological symptoms. However, recent vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine could be a more likely cause of the transverse myelitis, which has been rarely reported.

LESSONS

Transverse myelitis after COVID-19 infection has been an escalating phenomenon. However, transverse myelitis after COVID-19 vaccination is a rare occurrence that is also on the rise. Given the increased rates of vaccination, transverse myelitis should not be overlooked as a potential pathology, due to the severity of neurological impairment if this condition is not treated rapidly.

Open access

Bilateral papilledema with vision loss due to post–COVID-19–induced thiamine deficiency: illustrative case

Kern H. Guppy, Yekaterina K. Axelrod, and Han Kim

BACKGROUND

Bilateral papilledema with vision loss is considered a neurosurgical emergency due to high intracranial pressure. However, it may not be the only cause of papilledema. The authors reported an association among coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), bilateral papilledema, blindness, and Wernicke’s encephalopathy (WE).

OBSERVATIONS

An 18-year-old woman presented to the neurosurgery service with rapid profound vision loss and bilateral papilledema. She had COVID-19 3 months earlier with subsequent loss of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia), which resulted in hyperemesis and a 43-lb weight loss. Examination revealed ataxia, horizontal nystagmus, and blindness. Magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance venography of her brain were normal. Presumptive diagnosis of WE was made, and she was treated with intravenous thiamine with restoration of vision within 48 hours. Patient’s thiamine level was less than half the normal value.

LESSONS

Neurosurgeons should be aware of this unique correlation between papilledema and vision loss and its association with WE due to post–COVID-19 hyperemesis and weight loss from anosmia and ageusia.

Open access

Postinfectious coronavirus disease 2019 hemorrhagic cerebellitis: illustrative case

Eric K. H. Chow, Barry M. Rabin, and John Ruge

BACKGROUND

Conditions that can mimic posterior fossa tumors are rare. Their identification is crucial to avoid unnecessary surgical intervention, especially when prompt initiation of medical therapy is critical.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors presented a case of pseudotumoral hemorrhagic cerebellitis in a 3-year-old boy who presented initially with headache, persistent vomiting, and decreased level of consciousness 9 weeks after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a left cerebellar hemorrhagic mass–like lesion with edema and mild hydrocephalus. The patient responded to high-dose steroids and was discharged 2 weeks later with complete recovery.

LESSONS

When evaluating patients with possible tumor syndromes, it is important to also consider rarer inflammatory syndromes that can masquerade as neoplasms. Postinfectious hemorrhagic cerebellitis is one such syndrome.

Free access

Academic productivity in pediatric neurosurgery in relation to elective surgery slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic

Virendra R. Desai, Audrey Grossen, Huy Gia Vuong, Nicholas Hopkins, Mikayla Peters, and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

COVID-19 has not only impacted healthcare systems directly via hospitalizations and resource utilization, but also indirectly via adaptations in healthcare practice, such as the evolution of the academic environment and the rise of telemedicine and virtual education. This void in clinical responsibilities has been filled with academic productivity in various fields. In this study the authors investigate the influence of COVID-19 on the academic focus within pediatric neurosurgery.

METHODS

All data were obtained from the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics (JNS Peds). The number of submissions for each month from January 2017 to December 2021 was collected. Data including number of publications, publication level of evidence (LOE), and COVID-19–related articles were collected and verified. Each publication was categorized by manuscript and LOE according to adaptations from the Canadian Task Force on Periodic Health Examination. Publication groups were categorized as pre–COVID-19 (January 2017–February 2020), peri–COVID-19 (March 2020–July 2020), and post–COVID-19 (August 2020–December 2021). Statistical analysis was performed to compare pre–COVID-19, peri–COVID-19, and post–COVID-19 academic volume and quality.

RESULTS

During the study time period, a total of 3116 submissions and 997 publications were identified for JNS Peds. Only 2 articles specifically related to COVID-19 and its impact on pediatric neurosurgery were identified, both published in 2021. When analyzing submission volume, a statistically significant increase was seen during the shutdown relative to pre–COVID-19 and post-shutdown time periods, and a significant decrease was seen post-shutdown relative to pre–COVID-19. LOE changed significantly as well. When comparing pre–COVID-19 versus post–COVID-19 articles, a statistically significant increase was identified only in level 4 publications. When analyzing pre–COVID-19 versus post–COVID-19 (2020) and post–COVID-19 (2021), a statistically significant decrease in level 3 and increases in levels 4 and 5 were identified during post–COVID-19 (2020), with a rebound increase in level 3 and a decrease in level 5 during post–COVID-19 (2021).

CONCLUSIONS

There was a significant increase in manuscript submission during the initial pandemic period. However, there was no change during subsequent spikes in COVID-19–related hospitalizations. Coincident with the initial surge in academic productivity, despite steady publication volume, was an inverse decline in quality as assessed by LOE.

Open access

COVID-19–induced atypical pneumonia in an unseparated adult conjoined twin in a remote setup of developing country: management by telemedicine. Illustrative case

Anand Kumar Das, Suraj Kant Mani, and Saraj Kumar Singh

BACKGROUND

Telemedicine is the use of wireless communications and Web-based technologies to provide healthcare and services. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge to healthcare providers, who have been forced to change their usual mode of service delivery and have been given an opportunity to adopt the concept of telemedicine.

OBSERVATIONS

A 40-year-old underprivileged and unseparated conjoined twin (pygopagus) had dorsal spine tuberculosis and was on a regular follow-up through telemedicine due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and embarrassment they had to face in public appearances. After a few months, they contracted COVID-19 infection after which they were shifted to our tertiary care center. Several unique challenges were encountered during the 4-day course of management. Ultimately, they died and left us with questions of whether we are really prepared to tackle these challenges.

LESSONS

The general public should be made aware of such groups of patients and to encourage them to follow COVID-appropriate behavior. Vaccinations should be given on a priority basis to these subsets. A more robust approach of telemedicine consultation is required for management of patients in remote areas at the time of a pandemic. Ventilator management of these patients is still intriguing.